How To Capitalize on Holiday Shopping Trends With Display Advertising


According to Valpak’s semi-annual Consumer Spending Report, 53% of shoppers are still looking for discounts and deals on entertainment, gifts, food and travel as the holidays approach. 84% of shoppers plan to spend the same or less than last year on holiday-related purchases, but the number of shoppers planning to spend less than $500 has dropped from last year. As every dollar counts – it’s more important than ever to maximize your ROI in digital marketing.

Some Trends

The National Retail Federation estimates that more than half of consumers will start to shop online for gifts and they will start early. 52% of those surveyed will shop online for gifts – that’s the highest percentage since the NRF started its’ surveys, and it is up from 47% last year. November is a big month for shopping – with the largest percentage of consumers beginning to shop during November.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is a huge opportunity for display advertising, it occurs the Monday after Thanksgiving, and 36% of women are looking for gifts during this time and searching for deals. Creative featuring coupons are a great method for targeting during heavy online traffic days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year more and more etailers offered deals before Black Friday to get an edge on the competition. Further, deals seem to be broad and widespread rather than deals for certain discounts on specific items – a trend that spend conscious consumers are sure to capitalize on. Consumers find deals that are more long lasting, like those that last the entire season increasingly appealing in comparison to deals that expire quickly. The thought behind it? Shoppers are more likely to offer repeat business over the holiday time period than taking advantage of a quick deal.

For the past few years Black Friday isn’t the only day shoppers indulge in shopping – data points to increased shopping on Thanksgiving day itself (in stire and online). About 22% of consumers shopped online during Thanksgiving last year, up from 15% in 2008. ComScore reported online sales grew 18% on Thanksgiving last year, to $479 million.

Consumers Research Online

Nearly 70% of online shoppers that did shop in-store say online research influenced the brands they bought, the retailers they shopped and the gifts they selected, according to Google/OTX’s Post Holiday Survey last year. So, whether your goal is to drive sales/conversions or influence in-store purchases and increase awareness – display is the way to go.

How to Capitalize on The Trends With Display

Self- Gifting: Shoppers enjoy taking advantage of deals and promotions for themselves – there has been a rise in “self-gifting” recently, as 59% plan to spend $139.92 on average on self-gifting. Retailers can take advantage of this by tailoring messaging within display ads to reach consumers looking to splurge on themselves, something like: “You’ve been good this year” might do the trick.

Sales, Deals & Discounts: Will aid in driving decisions – make sure discounts, deals and specials are front and center in your display ads – for example offering 30% off of a laptop within your creative shown to someone after they’ve searched on “laptop holiday deals” or “laptop Christmas specials” positions your messaging and creative right on target and keeps you top of mind. Be sure to keep in mind the tid bit mentioned above that deals lasting the season are more desirable to consumers than those that expire quickly.

Devices: Mobile shopping is predicted to be big, as over half of shoppers plan to use their smartphone to research and purchase holiday items. Mobile phones will be used to compare pricing, identify store locations and directions to locations as well as other information. 20% of tablet users will redeem coupons on their tablets. So – be sure your display ad creative is mobile and tablet friendly. And capitalize on reaching customers during the research phase and purchase phase with retargeting and display – which allows you to align your creative with the behavior of these users regardless of device. And, you have the ability tailor creative and messaging to different stages in the buying process.

Competitive Prospecting: Utilizing search retargeting – build a list of competitor terms, so your creative will be shown to those searching on competitor products or services. For example, American Airlines would include competitor terms, such as “Delta Holiday Flight Deals” “Delta Flights” etc, so AA can retarget those already interested in flights/travel with their own creative and deals in hopes of making them AA customers.

Dynamic Ads & Personalized Targeting

We tweeted recently about the huge potential of pairing dynamic creative with deals and discounts in your display campaigns. Dynamic display ads personalize your display ad to users in real time, by creating an ad template that is customized based on items viewed on your site. For example, if someone visits your website and views a dress, your dynamic display ad would feature a picture of that specific dress and might be paired with a free shipping offer to draw them back to your site. The product offering is highly personalized as it shows an item that user expressed interest in, and paired with a discount or deal it offers an extra punch. This would be different than the ad shown to someone who looked at a pair of shoes for example, this ad would feature the shoes and a deal relevant to that product.

Dynamic is typically associated with site retargeting such that ads are customized based on last product viewed and/or product recommendations.  However, because has full data element control – we see many retailers capitalizing on the ability to target new audiences who have never visited their site with the same level of creative relevance using keyword search retargeting. Variables in the ad creative, such as product shown, price, messaging and more can be dynamically generated based on the specific keyword or keyword phrase the potential customer has searched on when browsing the web.

Personalized ads offer a personalized experience, which is better performing for a number of reasons:

  • Products, deals, pricing and offers are up to date and should lead back to the relevant landing page leading to higher conversion rates
  • Viewers are only shown ads relevant to their interests
  • The content is modified easily and quickly

Whether customers are looking to spend on themselves or others, researching products, hunting for deals or ultimately making purchases online – the value of display advertising is huge. Display advertising allows you to reach consumers at all stages of the purchase funnel, capitalize on competitor prospects (targeting competitor keywords) and build awareness.